Stealing the property of others. The basic prohibition is found in the Ten Commandments, “You shall not steal” (Exod 20:15). Elsewhere, the Bible contains specific rules regarding theft of domestic animals (Exod 22:1-4), imposing penalties of multiple restitution in kind. Highway robbery was a quite different phenomenon, representing a form of political opposition. The threat from such organized bands was to the central authority’s control of the communications network; hence, brigandage was treated by military rather than judicial means. But the Hebrew word for such robbery (gazal) came to be used by the prophets for a wide range of economic exploitation (robbing the fatherless, Isa 10:2). The NT continues the condemnation of robbery (1Cor 6:10; 1Pet 4:15), yet Jesus used the sudden and unexpected intrusion of the robber as a metaphor for the sudden inbreaking of God’s kingdom and the consequent need to stay alert (Luke 12:39-40; 1Thess 5:2; 2Pet 3:10; Rev 16:15).

Exod 20:15

15You shall not steal.

Exod 22:1-4

Laws of Restitution
1 When someone steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. ... View more

Isa 10:2

2to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be your spoil,
and that you may make the orphans your pre ... View more

1Cor 6:10

10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

1Pet 4:15

15But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker.

Luke 12:39-40

39“But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.40You also must be ready ... View more

1Thess 5:2

2For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

2Pet 3:10

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the e ... View more

Rev 16:15

15(“See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame.”)

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.